Saturday, May 14, 2005

Kaz Matsui: Is Ritual Suicide the Answer?

Mary-Jo and I went to our first ballgame of the year last night. Watched Tom Glavine and the Mets shut out the Cardinals at a chilly Shea Stadium, 2-0, in a game that (thankfully) lasted just two hours and ten minutes. Game went fast because there were very few baserunners--a total of just eight hits and two walks between both teams, all the runs coming on two mammoth solo homers by Cliff Floyd.

Overall both teams played very crisp ball. The Mets featured a nice double play started by Glavine to end the third inning and some good picks on throws in the dirt by Doug Mientkiewicz at first. The only moment when the Mets appeared to be in danger came in the top of the eighth inning. With Glavine still pitching, Abraham Nunez led off with a single. Then So Taguchi hit a sharp grounder right at Kaz Matsui--looked like a sure double-play ball--but Kaz booted it--grabbed for it with his bare hand--missed it--grabbed again--it scooted away. The boos rained down--it was Matsui's second error of the night.

Mary-Jo: "Two errors in one game! That's inexcusable. He ought to commit hara-kiri." She can be a tough critic.

Not to worry, though: Forty-year-old Roberto Hernandez came out of the bullpen and retired the next three hitters to preserve the shutout. Looper pitched a one-hit ninth and the Mets came away with the win.

I told Mary-Jo I needed to stop at the men's room on the way out of the park. She said, "Fine, I'll look at the shirts at the souvenir stand."

Ten minutes later she came over to check and found me still on the long line outside the bathroom. "This is amazing," she said. "Two things I've never seen before: The Mets in a quick, well-played game and a long line for the men's room." (During intermissions at the New York City Opera, there's almost always a line at the ladies' room, but never at the men's.) The explanation of course is simple. "If they sold beer at the opera," I told Mary-Jo, "there'd be a line for the men's room there, too."
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